Writing the Camino…Walking the Camino

photo 3As I write this, I am walking the pilgrimage of Santiago, an arduous, 800-km trek over the Pyrenees and through Spain.

As with so many things, strong comparisons can be drawn between the journey I am taking and the writing journey. So many comments, judgements and questions asked of a writer are also asked of the pilgrim. Perhaps some of these will resonate with you, the writing pilgrim.

How can one walk 800 km? The same way you write a book, a novella, a short story or even your bio. It is achieved one step at a time. From experience, I can tell you that no one walks the same path. The goal is achieved with a little planning, a lot of planning, or even no planning. It is achieved quickly, or on a timeframe, or it is organic.

photo 2We all walk the journey by ourselves, but we are never alone. Gifts of inspiration and support come in the interactions with others, the snippets of conversations and brief connections you make. Writers and pilgrims may dwell for hours in their own worlds, but glimpses of enlightenment and clarity are only seen through the interactions had with others. The folk wisdom that a journey can only be achieved by starting is true with both writing and the pilgrimage.

“I could never do that, I have a family, young children, commitments (etc)”
If your passion is writing, then write; if for no one else but yourself. There is the question of what a ‘real’ writer is, just as what a ‘real’ pilgrim is. By whose rules do you set your writing life up? Whose judgement says what a pilgrim looks like or acts like, or for what purpose they walk their journey? If you write three sentences a day; you are a writer. If you walk three kilometres, you are a pilgrim. It will take you longer than others, but if you have no timeline, then does it matter?

photo 1The majority of writers have other commitments–family and paying jobs. Don’t let others fears stop you from following your dreams. Most pilgrims come alone or with friends; it’s rare to see children along the track. I am walking 800 km with a nine and eleven year old; who until last year, lived a comfortable, sedentary inner city life. By no stretch are we fit or sporty. We carry all our belongings on our backs and take life one step at the time. Our little threesome have gained minor notoriety already as we reach the 170-km mark. I am called brave, inspirational and amazing; and yet I feel I am none of these. My kids are awesome, but we all get tired, we all hate getting up early to strap on our walking boots.

photo 4It is the same with writing. We must push through the uncomfortable sentences, power over paragraphs and be prepared to weather the attacks of the editors’ red pen. Strap on your walking/writing boots and just… Walk… Write..

The miles spill out before me as my mind empties of the business which normally occupies it; just as the words will spill out under your fingertips as you continue to write.


6 thoughts on “Writing the Camino…Walking the Camino

  1. Beautiful comparison.

  2. This is a beautiful and serendipitous insight that is received only by taking the wonderful advice provided in your article. And it goes with mentioning based upon your stunning images that the view along the way, as both a pilgrim and a writer, is quite magnificent. Thank you for sharing and best wishes on both your journeys 😉

  3. This is a beautiful piece and a great comparison. I will keep “El camino de Santiago” in my mind, for I want to do it one day, when doutb pays me a visit. Thanks

  4. I’m impressed. What a trek! I have a band of early man hominids march that path as the final step in their journey from Africa to what we now call Spain. Take notes for me!

  5. A wonderful comparison. Thank you for reminding all of us that we must first start!! I hope you will share more of this journey.


  6. Annie, this is the third time I’ve read this and I finally feel ready to respond. Your journey is breathtaking to me even as a reader. It must feel sublime and exhilarating to you. Your children will carry this journey with them all their lives and I’m certain that it will carry them as well.
    To take this journey and to cull such insight about life – you are artist and prophet. Thank you for this post. I hope you’ll write more about it. Many blessings.

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